Preparing the Garden of Privilege (edited)

“Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally.”

A single jpeg with the wording "I'm only responsible for what I say and not for what you understand" surrounding a butterfly
Like election promises, we hear what’s convenient

Coming out of this (maybe) pandemic nightmare, I believe, is going to have some unexpected “long haulers” effects on a societal basis. Personally, having been through this before, albeit I was only ten years old, but with the benefit of six decades to look back on, it is easier to see patterns. That change began shortly after WW2 and took about fifteen years to shift from the “farming collective” mentality (pre-WW2) to the “community can handle it” (early 50’s). This was really where “privilege” took off. For a good part there were the “working class” and the elite. Economic changes needed to fully transition from the pre-war economy to a post-war changing economy that contributed to a growing “middle class“.

Veterans weren’t going back to the farm after rehabbing in an urban centre and, due in part, to advancement being made in healthcare they were now living much healthier active life styles. The advancements being made in antibiotics was also contributing to life extension and quality. It generally wasn’t the injury that killed someone but any potential infection. The advancements made in antibiotics extended the life expectancy of so many disabled.

The services and supports they needed where all in “the City” so many stayed there, in 1946 they saw no future for themselves on the farm. Returning home with war induced injuries, these same veterans were not fully prepared for the battle for independence facing the disabled of the day. They were seen as “broken”, after surviving a disabling issue (spinal cord injuries, amputees, etc), fighting for their country just to get home and find themselves being offered an upscale prison camp. It wasn’t a planned cruelty but reflected a reality of societal thought of the day, provide a nice extended care centre and house everybody there rather than restructure communities to be more inclusive.

Veterans of the day were not about to simply comply with the current conditions and accept the “warehousing” facilities disguised as “extended care” facilities of that time. What quickly became apparent was that these veterans were not going to go quietly into the night, they wanted “options” for living independently in the cities. The vets push for independent living had a life spilt over onto 30,000+ kids who contracted polio between 1950 and 1955. Most of these were the the children of veterans and were carried on the slowly rising tide pushing for a more “inclusive” community providing all with equal opportunities. Thus began the “Parents War” and parenting became the opening for an economic explosion.

This fight to be welcomed back into a community, to be a “participating” member of the community they had left, usually voluntarily, to fight against the fascism sweeping across Europe at that time proved to be a bigger challenge than the front in Europe. This battle between veterans and the Canadian government (speaking of “sense of privilege“) had been going on since the end of WW1. This is my jaded side, however, it was easier to deal with the WW1 veterans demands due to their very short post trauma disability life.

The life expectancy of WW1 injured vets was less than two year (on average) so government could, and often did on a short term basis, basically make promises knowing the clock would run out. However, with the advancements being made in healthcare (particularly with antibiotics and orthopaedics), the sheer numbers of WW2 veterans, a growing media and the emergence of peer directed care was beginning to have an affect on the politicians of the day. Antibiotics drastically changed the anticipated life span of the disabled.

The history behind “antibiotics” is fairly young (around 1930) but the importance of antibiotics had long lasting effects so it wasn’t the trauma that shortened their life, it was infection. Times change and most attitudes do as well. This is why it is so important to look at the ramifications over what we enshrine in legislation and what we don’t. Case in point, the Alberta government. What kind of “common sense” is needed to recognize the folly in demanding Alberta nurses take a pay cut in the midst of a health pandemic.

My belief system is very important to me, all of my major life decisions are based on what I believe and sometimes that requires updating (or amending) your beliefs. Beliefs are really your moral compass and, like any compass, true north moves so every now and then you have to adjust your beliefs to match up with current societal thinking. I do that regularly.

Part of my cognitive/emotional spring cleaning usually involves eliminating as much toxicity around me as I can. That may sound easy but when you are a news junkie like me it’s difficult. Bad news get way more attention than the positive stuff so we are flooded daily with negativity oozing out of our monitors. News is like a drug and you can become addicted to the most innocence of things, like the news. Now I am not saying that all news is bad however it is being served in overwhelming quantities and, it’s like a good auctioneer, whoever can speak the longest and loudest gets the most attention, facts be damned. At the same time I can’t just avoid all news, how do you fight misinformation if you haven’t been following the important parts of the news.

I can’t just sit back, “enjoying my privilege”, while so many unmarked graves are being discovered in residential school properties. What I find even more disgusting is the feigning of surprise from so many people, in particular politicians. I grew up under the influence of the wisdom of Edgar Cayce, “The Sleeping Prophet” and the conscience of a Jiminy Cricket type character. After all his primary purpose was as a “conscience” for Pinocchio or “courage” for Dumbo. I grew up with the enjoyment of Disney but the reality of Old Yeller. This isn’t new.

When I was first diagnosed with polio (1953, 3 years old) I spend a lot of time in Winnipeg’s King George Hospital. At that age ones mind is like a fertile field for the mulch on a garden of thought. The amount of cognitive growth in that 3 to 5 year range really lays the foundation for one’s future belief system. I don’t have a lot of clear memories from those two years but compared to the kids in the residential school system, polio kids housed in a hospital were shown something that never seemed to be mentioned with residential schools. Fifty-seven years to get an answer, yes I would be fed up as well.

We were survivors, we were shown some dignity in the hospital, a concept not even recognized in the residential school system.. Sadly, watching the Alberta UCP roll back supports for the disabled, it’s not a big jump to see Alberta sliding back to the day of institutional living, AGAIN. We are slowly sliding back to situations that created many of these issues.

AMBIVERT – a person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features

I can tell you as a survivor of polio, no vaccine is ever going to be 100% the same way a condom is never a 100% certainty that you won’t get pregnant. It was this same type of dalliance that delayed (ten days) my childhood opportunity for an earlier diagnosis but why worry others during a pandemic.

Well the tech just called to say he would be here in about ten minutes and I want to finish this. It may look like a simple thing but one can’t really He’s going to reach the cords I can’t (I know “connecting” electronics looks straight forward, and is, until you are looking at those cords from a wheelchair. So my next article, and there will be more, will be done on my new laptop. I think I’ve mentioned this but seeing this old desktop (served me well for over ten years) is like watching your first born move out. Later and stay healthy plus everybody, understand your common sense and reestablish your relationship with “critical thinking“…

I’ll be back, meanwhile I can tell you personally, as well as professionally but I read more than Kafka novels (I enjoy Kafka but his is not the only world, try some Jules Verne). Different perspectives can be good for your health and I never, nor should you, create a belief system that is so rigid it moves more into the area of propaganda. Later

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